They don’t let us grow old | Accent

In “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, Oscar Wilde starts from the universal argument of eternal youth and the central theme of the novel revolves around the narcissism of its protagonist, who wishes to maintain the appearance of a portrait painted by an artist captivated by its beauty.

Laura Gómez, photography by Jochy Campusano

I think of Dorian Gray, a novel written at the end of the 19th century, when I read in an online publication that the super model Linda Evangelista – the one famous for saying that she did not get out of bed for less than ten thousand dollars – recently announced that she has been hiding because plastic surgery apparently destroyed his face. The truth is, I don’t know what one of the most beautiful women in the world looks like today, but I can imagine what a person feels whose identity and career revolves around her physique. Suddenly the extremely talented actress Nicole Kidman comes to mind, who seems to want to uselessly perpetuate an eternally young version of herself with botox. In “The Undoing”, the last series I saw with her, it was difficult for me to see her without any expression lines, especially next to a mature Hugh Grant, presented before the camera with the natural wrinkles of his age, without any problem, a common Double standard of pressuring women to maintain an untenable appearance, and I know that the pressure is also great in the gay environment.

There are few times that botox has been recommended to me, in fact. Once, in my thirties, I had to get my hands on a publicist who, in addition to suggesting that I use it, also sent a series of promotional photographs to be photoshopped in which, honestly, sometimes she didn’t even recognize me. I ended up asking for the alterations to be removed. It was one thing to improve blemishes, and another to distort my physique completely. I am horrified by the idea of ​​selling an image of something that I am not, and the truth is I do not understand what we expect from that, if in the end they would judge us in person. On another occasion, in an eye consultation in an ophthalmology office, as well as in a flash they told me that if I wanted they could start treatment, because according to them and supposed connoisseurs of the subject, the younger you start, the less noticeable. My denial has often led to me being categorized as “old fashion”, in order to avoid something I understand from some counselors would help me to wear a more “youthful” look in the long run.

The social pressure is enormous, of course. I remember one day when a girl of about 17 years old asked me for a selfie and when she took it and finished editing the photo, we both had a different face, due to the amount of filters she added. It may be that I am somewhat retarded on these issues, but I wonder if the amount of filters that exist to “improve” our image, including anime faces, is not distorting our perception of reality. And it is not that I am dying of wanting to grow old, and even less in a society that seems to punish us for doing so, but I am frightened by the idea of ​​how this foolish cult of eternal youth takes us away from our true essence and disconnects us from being able to be happy. accepting the stage we are in. Obviously I can notice the changes in my own face and I am able to understand that we are attached to a fresh skin and a young body, but honestly I like imperfections, and the lines of expression in a person reveal maturity, experience and wisdom. Therefore, in general, I find them attractive, and I work constantly to appreciate them in others, by then in addition to being able to accept mine. I also think that there is something beautiful about tired eyes, perhaps because I have struggled with insomnia for so long and I know that behind a pair of dark circles there are days of great effort.

I read it a long time ago, but if I remember correctly, towards the end of the novel, and after committing a crime, Dorian Gray enters the room where he has kept the painting hidden, and in a fit of fury, attacks the painting with the same knife with which he had just murdered the author of the portrait. Finally, the police and his servants manage to enter and find him dead, with a stab in the heart, and with a face full of wrinkles, while the portrait has recovered the freshness of adolescence. They do not let us grow old, but the reality is that it is the law of life and nothing and no one can prevent it. In 1890, Oscar Wilde already knew it.

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They don’t let us grow old | Accent